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02/08/2013 - Kennet pollution Angling Trust calls for a ban on the domestic use of killer chemical

 

Following   the identification of the pesticide chlorpyrifos as the cause of last month's   pollution of a 15kms section of the upper Kennet between Marlborough and Hungerford   the Angling Trust has written to Environment minister Richard Benyon calling   for the chemical to be withdrawn from domestic use. It has been estimated   that as little as half a cupful poured down a local drain and entering the   river via the Marlborough Sewage treatment works resulted in the almost   complete wipe out of macro invertebrates in the affected stretch.

Chlorpyrifos   is regularly used on lawns and golf courses and to tackle insects on crops   and some soft fruits.

It is the   same pollutant that wiped out a large section of the River Roding in 1985,   the River Wey in 2002 and 2003 and led to a significant fish kill on the   Sussex Ouse in 2001. It was banned in Singapore in 2009 for use in termite   control in soil and the United States phased out chlorpyrifos for use in   buildings and residential homes and pre-construction sites from 2001 due to   public health and environmental concerns.

The US   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has moved to limit the use of the   chemical near salmon rivers because of possible damage to fish and has been   petitioned to introduce a total ban following reports that it can cause   damage to human health.

There is   concern amongst the suppliers that a current review of the pesticide by the   UK's Chemical Regulations Directorate could lead to the government imposing   tougher restrictions on its sale and use. The industry funded 'Say No to   Drift' campaign states that "Continued availability of chlorpyrifos   is under threat due to more stringent EU environmental standards to further   protect the aquatic environment and meet regulatory requirements."

Angling   Trust Campaigns Chief's Martin Salter letter to the minister refers to the   easy availability of chlorpyrifos saying:  "It took me no more than a couple of minutes to find where to order it   on-line with a next day delivery for around £33.00 and there were several   other suppliers advertising for domestic customers on-line. Interestingly   whilst reference is made to compliance with HSE codes for the use of this   chemical by professionals no such obligation appears to apply to domestic   users."

Martin goes   on to say:  "Experience from other countries as well as the catalogue of   environmental disasters caused by chlorpyrifos, of which the upper Kennet is   but the latest, must surely tell us that the current controls are simply not   fit for purpose. In fact the Angling Trust wants to know why a lethal   chemical like chlorpyrifos is allowed to be used anywhere near a river or watercourse.

Apparently   the 15 kms wipeout of invertebrates between Marlborough and Hungerford may   have been caused by as little as a couple of spoonfuls and was almost   certainly the result of an irresponsible domestic disposal. We hope you will   agree that the the sooner we follow the lead of Singapore and America and ban   the domestic use of chlorpyrifos the better off our rivers will be."

He added:  "As you know at this stage we are not campaigning for an outright ban   but for chlorpyrifos to be removed from general sale and for its use to be   restricted to trained professionals only and operating under new and more   stringent conditions that include  restrictions on its use anywhere near   watercourses of any size.

Finally, we   are worried that the problems with the disposal of chlorpyrifos might just be   the tip of a chemical iceberg with garden sheds and other storage places   housing a range of substances that could prove lethal to aquatic life. In the   past there have been a number of initiatives advising people how they can   dispose of all unused chemicals and empty containers responsibly. We feel it   is time that these arrangements are reviewed."

 

 

 

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